Telecom operators call for amendment of anti-child pornography law
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators (PCTO) has called for the amendment of Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, citing “conflicting” provisions.
In an August 25-position paper submitted to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, PCTO noted that Section 9 of the law requires internet service providers (ISPs) to notify the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) within seven days of discovery that any form of child pornography is being committed using its service or facility.
It also requires that “all ISPs shall install available technology, program or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered,” the telco group pointed out.
However, the same provision also states that “nothing in this section may be construed to require an ISP to engage in the monitoring of any user, subscriber or customer, or the content of any communication of any such person.”
This, according to PCTO, “in effect nullifies and prevents ISPs from precisely performing the duties imposed by Section 9.”
The group urged the Department of Justice to support its position on the need to rectify the confusion and take into account “the paramount objective of protecting the welfare of children who are victims of child pornography and online sexual abuse.”
PCTO added that the Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 imposes strict privacy responsibilities on entities that collect or process personal information of customers, which it said likewise contradicts the duties imposed on ISPs under RA 9775.
PCTO is the umbrella organization of duly enfranchised telecommunication entities and ISPs, including telco giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.
The position paper sent to Guevarra was signed by PCTO chairman Enrico Delos Reyes and president Atty. Froilan Castelo.
Meanwhile, the telco group also expressed its commitment to help the government curb online child pornography and sexual abuse in the country.
“PCTO condemns child pornography as a reprehensible crime that should be rightfully curtailed by the state. Blocking of unlawful content is a state duty which ISPs support,” the group said.
It added that its member-companies have been closely coordinating with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and law enforcement agencies, such as the PNP and the NBI in blocking child pornographic sites.
According to PCTO, the NTC has so far endorsed to the telcos and ISPs more than 6,000 websites and links for blocking. NTC is an active member of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography.
PCTO said Globe Telecom has already blocked a total of 2,521 sites identified by the NTC and law enforcement agencies and that the telco giant has also invested in a software filtering system worth $2.7 million to support its “PlayItRight” campaign targeting illegal or pirated content and online child pornography.
Likewise, PCTO said PLDT and it’s subsidiary Smart Communications, through its Cyber Security Operations Group, have been actively identifying and blocking child pornography websites when informed by the PNP and NBI.
PCTO further said that PLDT and Smart have also provided connectivity and technical assistance to enable services for the quick reporting of cases of online sex exploitation of children through text hotline 7444-64 set up by the PNP Women and Children Protection Center and the International Justice Mission.
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